In this Women and Protest history podcast we tell eight stories of women who fought for liberty, justice and human rights.
Mary Overton was a pamphleteer who ran a printing press. She was imprisoned for publishing leaflets campaigning for the separation of church and state; public education; freedom of speech; and a people’s bill of rights and persecuted by the authorities. The “Petition of Mary Overton" is one of the earliest records of a women active in radical political protest.
The harrowing words of Mary Fildes are a powerful testimony of how a Manchester militia attacked a peaceful protest for voting rights that took place at St Peter’s Fields in Manchester on the 16th August 1819 – a terrible massacre that became known as Peterloo.
Annie Beasant was one of the most famous, and infamous women of Victorian Britain. She left her violent vicar husband to become a popular speaker, journalist and editor and atheist campaigner.
In 1888, Besant heard out about the terrible working conditions of the match girls at the Bryant and May factory in east London and became their champion. She befriended the young Mahatma Ghandi and travelled with him in India. She encouraged Indian national consciousness, but India’s British rulers arrested Besant. In 1917 she took over as president of the Indian National Congress for a year, and became known as the mother of India.
In June 1913, in front of thousands of spectators, one of Britain’s most important national events was stopped in its tracks by a shocking act of public protest. At the Epsom derby, Suffragette Emily Davison walked into the path of galloping horses, what happened next stunned the nation.
In 1892 London police raided number 19 Fitzroy Square. This respectable, stuccoed Georgian town house was home to The International School, run by anarchist and revolutionary Louise Michel, who had escaped to London after fighting on the barricades in defence of the Paris Commune.
In 1916 Constance Markievicz was transported from a Dublin prison to the city’s Royal Barracks to face a court martial A countess and daughter of a baronet, born a stones’ throw from Buckingham Palace, and presented at court to Queen Victoria - she faced a death sentence.
Minnie Lansbury was born in 1889 in East London - one of seven children in a Jewish family. She was elected on the London borough of Poplar's first Labour council.
Minnie was imprisoned when the councillors refused to impose high rents on poor East End residents. A local hero, when she died in 1922 local people raised money for a memorial.
She is buried in East Ham Jewish cemetery.
Listen to these stories in this British history podcast: